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A Cure for Baldness May be on the Way

Update Date: Aug 20, 2012 05:31 AM EDT

Scientists believe that a cure for baldness might hit the market soon.

Already in talks with drug companies, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered the root cause of baldness, an enzyme called prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), which shuts down hair follicles.

Baldness implies partial or complete lack of hair and the way and speed with which it progresses in men and women may differ.

An announcement was recently made by Dr George Cotsarelis head of dermatology at Pennsylvania University that he is in talks with several pharmaceutical companies regarding the treatments that are under development and could be available in two years.

For the study, researchers screened 250 genes implicated in hair loss,  the Daily Telegraph reported.

Drugs for the reduction of PGD2 levels are already available in the market, as it is already used for the treatment of asthma.

About four in five men experience some degree of baldness by the age of 70, according to Today Online. Apparently, even in bald patches, the production of hair does not stop. The quality of the hair production goes low till the point they are either barely visible or do not even break the skin's surface.

During the study, Cotsarelis and colleagues found that in  men with hair loss, the levels of PGD2 was three times higher in the areas with bald spots than in hairy areas.

"We really do think if you remove the inhibition [caused by PGD2}, you get longer hair," Cotsarelis had said when the original study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in March.

With the latest findings, he said that it as possible to think of not only stopping hair loss, but also of hair re-growth in bald men.

"The nice thing about dermatology and hair loss in general is that you can take compounds that maybe are being used as a pill and put them in a topical formulation," Cotsarelis was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

Lab tests also suggest that the treatment may also be helpful for women

About 40 per cent of hair loss in women is due to hormone changes during menopause, Mail Online reported.

"We think these findings will have implications beyond male pattern baldness but, even if they don't, we think it will be exciting. There is a large number of people who would rather have hair than not,"  Cotsarelis said.

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